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Others Like “Winglets in Wind Tunnels”

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed how some jet planes have small, vertical projections as the tips of the wings? They're called winglets. What are they there for? Read more
Aero_p013
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail How does a helicopter generate enough lift to fly? How does a speedboat get moving fast enough to pull someone on water skis? Here's a project on designing propellers to do the job. Read more
Aero_p018
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Previous experience with aerodynamic design (e.g., model airplanes, gliders) is suggested.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever flown in an airplane, or looked up at one flying in the sky, and wondered how such a massive machine can stay in the air? Airplanes can stay in the air because their wings, also referred to as airfoils, generate lift. Engineers use devices called wind tunnels to experiment and test different wing shapes when they design new airplanes. Wind tunnels let engineers make careful measurements of the air flow around the wing, and measure the amount of lift it generates. If you can get… Read more
Aero_p004
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Access to a homemade wind tunnel
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Science Fair Project Idea
A great way to get started in exploring aerodynamics is by building high-performance paper gliders. We're not talking folded pieces of copier paper here. These gliders are built using laminated construction methods, so they look and fly much more like the real thing. The materials are inexpensive, and the building techniques are easy to learn. You can easily turn out several planes, which makes it possible to test the effects of design changes on flight performance. Read more
Aero_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None; Project times longer depending on how many gliders you build, and how many times you iterate your design.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen butterflies fluttering around outside, gliding through the air and landing on flowers? While they are delicate and fragile, butterflies are actually excellent flyers. They are so good, in fact, that scientists at Harvard University studied butterfly wing shapes as an inspiration for building a miniature flying robot. In this science project, you will do your own version of the Harvard scientists' experiment to measure the flight performance of butterfly wings. Read more
Aero_p049
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered why golf balls have a pattern of dimples on their surface? The dimples are important for determining how air flows around the ball when it is in flight. The dimple pattern, combined with the spin imparted to the ball when hit by the club, greatly influence the ball's flight path. For example, backspin generates lift, prolonging flight. When the ball is not hit squarely with the club, varying degrees of sidespin are imparted to the ball. A clockwise sidespin (viewed from… Read more
Sports_p012
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites To do this experiment you must have sufficient golf experience to swing a golf club consistently and have access to golf clubs.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a V-formation? In this science fair project, you will build a wind tunnel to test how the formation of birds in flight actually affects their flight efficiency. Read more
Zoo_p057
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This is an advanced project that will require substantial initiative to design, build, and test. The experimental procedure gives outlines for how to proceed, and includes pictures; but precise details for the setup have to be worked out independently. Also, to perform the analysis, it is recommended that you first read the scientific papers that are listed in the Bibliography.
Material Availability You will need a web camera and a computer for this science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
A technique often used in wind tunnels is to introduce smoke in front of the airfoil that is being tested. The smoke comes from regularly-spaced point sources, and the wind flow in the tunnel spreads it out into parallel lines, called streamlines. The streamlines make it possible to visualize the airflow over the airfoil. When the lines continue smoothly over and past the airflow, they show that the flow remains laminar, and that the airfoil is creating very little drag. When the… Read more
Aero_p026
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Are you good at tossing a Frisbee®? It is great when you throw a perfect, arcing curve, right on target! If you can do that, you have already trained your arm on the aerodynamics of Frisbee flight. Why not treat your brain to some Frisbee science with this project? Read more
Aero_p010
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should know the basics of throwing a frisbee (i.e., be able to play catch with a friend).
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No hazards
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Just one sheet of paper can lead to a whole lot of fun. How? Paper planes! All you have to know is how to fold and you can have a simple plane in a matter of minutes! But what design should you use to build the best plane? In this aerodynamics science project, you will change the basic design of a paper plane and see how this affects its flight. Specifically, you will increase how much drag the plane experiences and see if this changes how far the paper plane flies. There is a lot of cool… Read more
Aero_p046
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Fly your planes in a large area, away from foot and vehicle traffic.
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